Saturday September 9th until Wednesday September 20th , 2017
Colorado, Utah and Nevada
Saturday we are early birds because we want to see the runners who are going over the mountain from Ouray to Telluride. From the viewpoint on our campground, high above town, it is great to see them climbing up. The weather is good so we stay outside, chatting with other people. Fortunately we’re ready when Mike arrives, to pick us up. The missing parts for Mike’s Jeep are not in stock in Montrose so we go to the KOA campground. In the afternoon Jerry and Marianne, friends of Mike and Susan, arrive also. We talk to each other, have a nice day, fun and eat excellent Chili, Susan made. What a delicious taste. Susan gives me the recipe so I will be able to make this too.
However Dick don’t think I can manage this the same way because it is prepared in a slow cooker and we don’t have one. Time flies because of the enjoyable time together and suddenly it is dark and after some shopping with Susan in Ouray (the men stay in the jeep, chatting and taking care of Penny) we go back to our campground. Genie, Susans sister is so kind to bring me the necessary food ingredients with her tomorrow.
It’s for the Potluck, so Sunday morning I don’t have to walk to the city of Ouray. It’s a pity, because I would love to do that but now it gives me the opportunity to write for our website, really needed because I did not write for a couple of days.
Soon after breakfast I take my laptop (of course in the sun) and write. In the meantime Dick unload our pictures, clean the windows and talk with our camphost. Ofcourse we also chitchat with our neighbors. At two o’clock pm Susan and Genie arrive to bring us to the KOA. It’s great that now we meet Susans sister and her husband David.
Late afternoon Marianne, Jerry, Lee and Susanne arrive, all with delicious dishes for the potluck. Although the weather is heavily cloudy and not really warm, it is still dry. We have to wait for the ribs and bricketts David is preparing but that’s not bad because the result is great, this meat tastes good.
We enjoy all the different dishes of this delicious meal and everyone who wants, may also try a very strong Ginger Ale, from Bob in Montana. The first sip burns and it’s fun to look when people drink. But if you like this real Ginger it is delicious.
Unfortunately it starts to rain during our meal. But, Mike’s RV has an awning so we can sit and eat under it and with a sweater it‘s good outside. We are privileged with such good friends and have a nice evening together, we talk a lot about everything and enjoy the delicious food.
After Susans superb dessert, Angel food (I really need to learn to make this) we say goodbye to each other.
On Monday the sky is blue, all clouds are gone and we enjoy the Sun. At 9 am we leave our nice campground in the mountains and, of course we drive to the KOA campground where Mike, Susan, Genie and David stay. After talking again and again with each other, we say goodbye, knowing that we are going to see each other again. At least we will see Mike and Susan twice this trip. We may leave our RV on their drive way in December, when we go home for the holidays. Then we drive into the mountains, not over the Million Dollar Highway (part of it we already drove with Mike and Susan), but to Telluride, CO.
Even with rain showers It is a beautiful road which brings us to Cortez. There we arrive at 2 pm. It’s good to be early so we can do some shopping, enjoy a Sonic milkshake and do some laundry before spending the night at Walmart. It is really necessary to buy food and drinks. Unfortunately, we buy no other things, like clothes. The winter fashion arrived and is not really attractive.
Tuesday morning we leave Walmart in time so before 10 am we arrive in Mesa Verde National Park, and moments later we find a beautiful spot on the campground. After paying for this spot and putting a “Taken” paper on the site we explore this park.
After a few hikes we arrive at the museum where it is possible to reserve a place for a ranger walk to the Balcony House. Besides the Cliff Palace (we visited this ruin 6 years ago with Thomas and Thecla), this is one of the places of the Pueblo Ancestors, worth visiting.
Especially climbing some ladders to get to this ruins, clinged to the rock walls, is attractive. (Or non-attractive, depending on who you are). Because we still have some time before our walk starts at 3 pm we can walk around and look at other ruins. The walk with our Indian Ranger is interesting. We ascend a steep rock wall with a ladder to get to the Balcony house.
Although this ruin is smaller than Cliff Palace it’s very beautiful and the physical challenges of climbing different ladders as well as crawling through a tunnel are great. Not until end of the afternoon we are back on the campground where we still can sit outside.
At 7 pm the Sun disappears behind the mountains and then it cools down quickly.
Wednesday, the sun shines again and soon our RV warms up. Not bad at an altitude of 7895 feet. This campground is managed by a concessionaire (therefore slightly more expensive) but we have Wifi and pretty strong too so Dick can use that to publish. At first he need to find the pictures he want to publish, it takes a lot of time to do that with the amount of pictures I make. In the meantime, I will make the English translation. Eventually we are busy all day, working on our website, but that is not unpleasant. We are outside in the sun and the most important ruins in Mesa Verde we have seen. End of the afternoon Dick has published and our English translation is prepared and will be published tomorrow. Content with our activities we enjoy the last rays of sunshine.
Ofcourse we enjoy the herd of 9 Mule Deer walking around on our campground, not taking offence of us humans, absolutely nothing.
Thursday september 14th, there are more clouds but it’s still nice and warm outside. After dumping our black- and grey water and of course, as always at a dump station, talking to other RV’ers and exchanging addresses (we really need to come to the coast of Oregon) we drive back to Cortez-CO, do some shopping, buy stamps and post cards as well stop at a used bookshop where I find 4 books of my beloved series “Wagons West”.
Than we drive West and South of Monticello, Utah, in a National Forest, we find again a nice campground. Unfortunately dense clouds cover the sky and a strong wind is blowing so we stay inside. Early evening flashes of lightning and thunderstorms are in and also some rain. Not for a long time but enough to stay inside and not walk around.
Friday the sky is clearing up and over a forest road we drive to the southern part of Canyon Lands National Parks: The Needles. At first we see, deep below us, the bare Plains with canyons, but soon we drive between towering red walls. Very impressive.
After a stop at Newspaper rock, a rock where former inhabitants carved their messages, we continue. More and more cliffs towering above the plains. At 10 am we arrive at the National Park campground but we take the wrong loop, all around us are signs with “reserved”. Sometime later we go to loop B but there is not much hope to find a spot. We are lucky, the camphost knows that one place is still available and we rush to it. The rental RV is still there but not for long so at half past 10 am we occupy the very last spot on the campground, surrounded by huge rocks.
All the roads here are smeared with sand, stones and branches and next to our picnic table is a layer of at least 2 inches of hailstones. The rain, wind and thunderstorms we had yesterday were obviously nothing compared to the storm here. While the ranger cleans the toilets, flooded with sand, we drink coffee and after that we take our bikes to go around in the park. It’s beautiful weather and the distances are not so big so cycling is not a problem. It turns out to be heavier than we think when we cycle through the park. It’s very hilly and sometimes we may descend, but going back to the campground we only have to climb up.
That makes that we explore the second part of the park with our RV. Now we have more opportunities to stroll around between the rugged cliffs and horrifying deep canyons.
We are in a beautiful part of Canyonlands National Park. End of the afternoon we are back at the campground. Just in time to get some toasts with cheese and a beer before we take our bikes to the ranger talk at loop A.
This time it is about Raven, intelligent animals you regularly encounter. 3 Pounds heavy, they can be very impressive if they sit next to you, begging for some food (which of course you should never give). Just before dark we are back at our RV. Despite the weekend (harder to find a camping spot) we leave Canyonlands National Park on Saturday. In Moab, we want to see if we can get new front tires because our old ones are worn out.
We might also find a camping spot in Arches. When, however, we arrive at half past 10 am at Arches National Park, we can join a double line of at least 60 cars and after some wait and see, we make a U-turn and leave the park. This makes no sense, there will be no parking spot in the park with so many cars and RV’s and it remains to be seen or we can walk to Delicate Arch, yesterday that was not possible given the severe weather and floods at this Arch. All the campgrounds in Moab are full, the tire shop does not have the appropriate tires (we’ll have to go to Las Vegas), the forest campgrounds only have tent places and we will not stay on BLM land just outside Arches, so we take interstate 15 to the West.
We decide to leave our schedule and drive direct to Las Vegas to replace our front tires. It is a beautiful Interstate, 100 mile through wild mountain scenery without any houses or services, great rock formations and harsh mountains. In Salina, Utah, we stop.
Near the Interstate, behind a gas station, is a quiet campground next to a Mexican restaurant. Very tempting so our brats stay in the fridge and at 7 pm we enjoy a good Mexican meal. It’s too much food, so we get a doggie-bag and tomorrow we will have an appetizer of Mexican Food with our beer.
Because our friends Riley and Karen told us that there is a series of caches all over the US (Caches Across America) and we are close to the Utah cache (Dick says “only a 50 mile detour”), we find our way on Sunday to Interstate 15. Near Fillmore, Utah, we have to take a gravel road before finding the geocache.
It’s easy to find and after logging this one we leave the interstate and follow our Hakuna to Cedar Break National Monument. This monument is not far from the route to Las Vegas. Nowhere is mapped that the way we drive is a narrow, steep, mountain road with slopes of 13% up and up and up until an altitude of 10606 feet. Again a road made by the unemployed young men during the great depression from 1934 till 1938. Everywhere around us are ski slopes and then we arrive at Cedar Breaks Monument. On a steep mountain slope down (2380 feet deep) are several rock formations in the colors red, purple, orange, yellow, pink and white. A beautiful view.
After we took some pictures we descent at the other side of the mountain, a different road with only 8% grades down, so less burden on our brakes.
The campground at the Visitor Center is closed but we find a campground in Dixie National Forest. This campground is closed since september 11th, but there is no fence and we find a nice spot, so we stay here and enjoy the sun. Unfortunately, it is not really hot at this altitude, 8525 feet, and we have to wear a hoodie and jeans.
End of the afternoon the sky fills up with clouds so we go inside our RV. When Dick is grilling our brats outside we talk with a young Dutch couple who want to know everything about ferrying an RV from Holland to the US.
They think it’s more pleasant to have your own RV than a rental one, full of advertising (and they are right). Eventually it is too cold to stay outside (in spite of a glass of wine), our brats are ready and we go inside again. During the night, for the first time in months, our heating is on, no wonder it’s only 42 degrees. Although next morning the sky is steel blue and sun shines our RV stays in the shadow of a deep Valley. When we arrive in Cedar City, we can warm up in the sun.
Through harsh mountainous land we drive into Arizona, along imposing gorges and towering high rocks we descent. As soon as we arrive in Mesquite, Nevada, we exchange our jeans for shorts. Now, at 10 am it’s already 89 degrees. We are not far from Las Vegas where, on Boulder Highway, our favourite campground “Road Runner RV-Park”, is .
Because the season has not started yet, we have plenty of choice and find a spot next to the swimming pool. We pay for three days (cheaper than one day at a time) and drive to Boulder City, to “Big O Tyres”. Just like three years ago, they have suitable tires for our rig and they can also change the tyres at once. At two pm we have less money but new front tyres and a delicious Sonic Milkshake. Then we drive back to our, now almost boiling, spot, it is 95 degrees.
I cut Dicks hair, go to Walmart to cut my own “long” hair, according to Dick it’s still too short, and then we dive into the cooling swimming pool, doing nothing. After an hour in the pool we sit in the shade and read in the shade until late in the evening. Tuesday September 19th, we wake up early.
Yesterday, at the state border of Nevada, we passed a time zone, we are back in Pacific Time and have a 9 hours time difference with the Netherlands. We are still not used to this Pacific Time. But getting up early gives us the advantage of a rather cool morning (79 degrees). Today it is cleaning day. No luxury if you are already more than 4.5 months on the road. Not only our carpet has to be washed, but the closets have to be cleaned and our back garage has to be swiped, neighbors ask or we are moving.
Our whole camping spot is filled with stuff. Ofcourse we also do laundry, not bad if you consider that the machines ask only 1 dollar. At 4 pm everything is cleaned, the wet carpet dry again and everything is given a place. We may cool down in our pool. At 6 pm we walk to Sam’s Town, a hotel and casino nearby, with a good buffet. My Sam’s gambling pass, I got that three years ago and never used it for gambling, gives us a big discount on the buffet. We enjoy the food but eat way too much.
There is too much choice and the pastries are to tempting , so it is good that after dinner we walk some time through the casino and then back to our campground for another 15 minutes. During the night it cools down till 77 degrees and sitting outside is very pleasant. We are in a big city. All around us we hear wailing sirens, CSI Vegas comes to life.